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Looking for reporters' blogs on Katrina


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September 02, 2005

Looking for reporters' blogs on Katrina

Stephen Baker

For the first time in years I've been Tivoing the evening news. Granted, in 22 minutes reporters are right to focus on other people's stories, and not their own. But I'm curious about how they're doing their jobs. I'd like to read about it, perhaps on blogs. Are there any out there? My most maddening question: If reporters can get to desperate people, why can't rescue trucks carrying food, medicine and water? Anyone know?

Tim Porter links to a Times Picayune blog. Good reporting there (but it doesn't answer my question.)

08:41 AM

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Just a guess, but I'd say that it's much easier for reporters to carry the tools of their trade than for rescue workers. The rescue workers must carry considerable gear.

From what I've seen, it looks like reporters have been communicating with rescue teams about the locations of survivors they've seen.

- Amy Gahran

Editor, Contentious

Posted by: Amy Gahran at September 2, 2005 09:19 AM

If reporters can get to desperate people, why can't rescue trucks carrying food, medicine and water?

The reporters are operating as a smart network and not as a command and control organization with little or no communications waiting for orders. Those with the best communications skills, do the most good. There has been a total failure of communications by FEMA and the Dept. of Homeland Security. The results are clear enough. It's getting worse. FEMA should be down there passing out FREE cell phones and radios.

Here's a new thing to help the homeless.

http://www.hurricanehousing.org/ Hurricane Katrina has left hundreds of thousands of people homeless. But thousands of people throughout the region are stepping up to offer free shelter to those in need.

Posted by: Jim Dermitt at September 2, 2005 09:57 AM

WWLTV is running a blog as updates come in:

http://www.wwltv.com/local/stories/WWLBLOG.ac3fcea.html

Posted by: Patrick Grote at September 2, 2005 10:05 AM

They travel light. They're daring. They don't carry the regulatory overhead of Gov or NGOs. They get paid better than civil servants or charity workers for doing it.

Posted by: John (SYNTAGMA) at September 2, 2005 10:11 AM

Couple of ideas; TVnewser and the Daily Nightly.

Posted by: Heather Green at September 2, 2005 10:12 AM

Who says rescue workers *aren't* getting to people? The need is overwhelming -- Tens of thousands of people are needing evac. 5000 rescuers down there can only get so many people at a time. It's easy for us armchair quarterbacks to judge the apparent lack of results, but there are men and women down their risking their lives doing their jobs. The Times-Picayune predicted three years ago that rescue efforts would be more than difficult.

I had the same question as Stephen regarding how reporters are doing the job. During the storm, Times-Picayune blogged from their building in New Orleans and then evacuated to Houma. I wondered: How did they blog? What was involved in their evac?

Posted by: Fritz at September 2, 2005 12:54 PM

Follow up from my previous comment -- Times-Picayune reports that the Coast Guard has rescued 4000 souls so far and delivered 23,000 lbs of water. That's only a drop in the bucket compared to the 100,000 people who remained behind, but I hope it puts some perspective on the matter. Thousands of people saved, but tens of thousands still need help.

I'm not sure what free cell phones are supposed to do, when there's no phone network...

Posted by: Fritz at September 2, 2005 12:59 PM

Check out the blog at www.directnic.com.

Posted by: Heather at September 2, 2005 04:59 PM

The reporters travel light? They're paid more? Reporters have the network wherewithal to go places? You gotta be kidding me!

The military can send small units to get reconnaisance on Al Quaeda, but couldn't send those same small units in to pinpoint survivors to rescuers?

The military can create landing zones on inhospitable sites in Afghanistan, but couldn't lower supplies until 3 or more days had passed in N.O. ?

The military can hunt Al Quaeda in hostile territory in Iraq, but cannot quell criminals in this city b/c it's too dangerous?

W and Condi could do fundraisers and shoe shopping, but couldn't be bothered to order troops to drive a few hundred miles at most to help rescue Katrina's victims?

The N.O. mayor thought it was more important for the police to stop looters than for them to rescue the storm's survivors?

The La. governor could not compel the guardsmen who were NOT in Iraq to move into the flood zone, even if she had to drop her facade of southern womanhood and publicly harangue the feds?

The Mississippi governor could not drop his oily smile and ask the president to stop helping in slow, time-delayed implements and get the full force of federal help to his people? (And did he even have a mandatory evacuation in view of the miles-wide storm?)

These are a few of the many, many questions that arise out of the fiasco of a federal response to the flood crisis along the Gulf Coast.

Posted by: DyceeJ at September 4, 2005 09:53 AM

Simplistic questions like why can't aid workers get to the victims when reporters can get there is a disservice to all of us watching the news unfold.

Mobilizing against the largest single disaster in our national history is a lot tougher than reporting on the misery at the Convention Center.

But then reporters are going for headlines while rescuers are executing carefully planned strategies in a situation they've never seen before ... a big difference between theory and the real world, a big difference between covering a story and covering thousands of square miles in unknown conditions.

I am saddened that so many perished, and did so in such tragic conditions. But why do the media need to go on the attack and demand resignations while the battle is on? No wonder our respect for the media diminishes more and more.

Posted by: Dale Wolf at September 4, 2005 11:41 PM

I agree that the questions were simple, but I didn't know the answer. They got some intelligent feedback. Personally, I'm glad that the reporters made it to the scene carried the story to us. Occasional grandstanding aside, most of them are working hard, taking chances, and serving the public interest. And I wouldn't be surprised if their reports helped to add urgency to faltering rescue efforts.

Posted by: steve baker at September 5, 2005 10:52 AM


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